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University of Southern California and Science Convene "Global Horizons" Forum
Some of the world's foremost science thinkers and futurists will gather in Los Angeles 11 April for a symposium on the challenges confronting the U.S. culture of innovation in the 21st century.
The symposium, organized by the University of Southern California and the journal Science, will spend a day focusing on research, financial and cultural issues related to stem cell research, rising global competition and other critical trends and issues that will determine the frontiers of innovation in the decades ahead.
Among the speakers will be inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil; George Olah, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Distinguished Professor and Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Chair in Organic Chemistry at USC; Mangalam Srinivasan, a former adviser to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and now a director at Satyam Computers, one of the world's largest global IT services/software corporations; and political pundit and television personality Chris Matthews.
[To RSVP online, click here.]
The symposium was conceived last year during the 125th anniversaries both of USC and of Science, which is published by AAAS. It has been given impetus by the growing concern that declining science literacy, slipping federal investment in research and development and other factors are jeopardizing U.S. innovation leadership in an increasingly competitive world.
The one-day event, "Global Horizons: America's Challenge in Science and Innovation," will take place on Tuesday 11 April, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Davidson Conference Center on USC's University Park Campus. The symposium is scheduled to open with remarks from USC President Steven B. Sample and Alan I. Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of Science.
The centerpiece of the morning will be a panel discussion, "Stem Cell Research: Are We Bystanders or Key Players?" Among the panelists at the session will be Dr. Donald B. Kohn, director of the Gene, Immune and Stem Cell Therapy Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and former president of the American Society of Gene Therapy; Dr. Martin Pera, director of the USC Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine and former director of Embryonic Stem Cell Research at the Australian Stem Cell Centre; and stem cell research pioneer Peter Donovan, a developmental biologist at the University of California-Irvine. The panel will be moderated by Rosie Mestel, deputy editor of the Los Angeles Times Health Section.
To RSVP online, click here and type in code 4116.
Kurzweil will deliver a keynote luncheon speech. He has been widely acclaimed as one of the leading inventors and visionaries of our time, with a keen sense of the technology that now lies over the horizon. Forbes has called him "the ultimate thinking machine." Bill Gates called him "the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence." He received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the nation's largest award in invention and innovation. President Bill Clinton honored him with the 1999 National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor in technology.
Two sessions are scheduled for the afternoon. John Harlow, West Coast correspondent of the Sunday Times of London, will moderate the session "China and India: New Challengers or Partners?" The panel will look at the extraordinary gains being registered by emerging Asian powers and assess how the United States will respond. Among the panelists will be Srinivasan; Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an international investment banker and corporate strategist with extensive activities and relationships in China, a scientist and scholar with a doctorate in anatomy, and the author or editor of 25 books; and Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm Inc., a developer and manufacturer of mobile satellite communications and digital wireless telephony.
Matthews, host of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on MSNBC, will moderate the day's final session: "Science and Innovation: What Matters Most Now?" The panel will explore the critical developments coming in biological and social sciences, technology, the environment, education and other fields, with a goal of understanding where science is leading us, where the next great innovations will come from and who will benefit from them.
Panelists for that session will include Nobel Laureate George Olah; AAAS Fellow John Seely Brown, former chief scientist of Xerox Corp. and co-founder of the Institute for Research on Learning; and Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks Inc. (The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT is named for him).
The University of Southern California is a major scientific research center. With a total of $420 million of funded research in 2005, it ranks among the Top 10 private research universities in the United States. Located in Los Angeles and on the Pacific Rim, USC plays a particularly prominent role internationally, with more foreign students than any other American university.
If you aren't able to visit USC campus for the event, you can tune in to a live webcast here.
For speaker biographies and other information about the event, click here.
Edward W. Lempinen
4 April 2006